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[Xmca-l] Re: How *basic* are images?


I don't know whether you agree with me, but I'd say that "mental images" are examples of the "simulations" that Larry Barsalou has been studying.  Barsalou is one of the proponents of "grounded cognition": here is the abstract from one of his papers:

"Grounded cognition rejects traditional views that cognition is computation on amodal symbols in a modular system, independent of the brain’s modal systems for perception, action, and introspection. Instead, grounded cognition proposes that modal simulations, bodily states, and situated action underlie cognition. Accumulating behavioral and neural evidence supporting this view is reviewed from research on perception, memory, knowledge, language, thought, so- cial cognition, and development. Theories of grounded cognition are also reviewed, as are origins of the area and common misperceptions of it. Theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues are raised whose future treatment is likely to affect the growth and impact of grounded cognition."

(Available here:)

In my view, LSV helps us break away from the core assumption of cognitive psychology: that the brain (and or mind) operates with *amodal* 'mental' representations ('amodal' simply means independent of the perceptual modalities of sight, sound, touch, etc.). That assumption leads into intractable dualism, and into exactly the problems that LSV described. But certainly we can create *modal* simulations, as LSV knew well - 'inner' speech is one example (though it's still not clear what goes on in the brain when we do this). Grounded cognition is one of the new turns in psychology that I think aligns well with cultural psychology/CHAT. Perhaps Barsalou was in contact with the folk at UCSD?


On Dec 2, 2014, at 2:18 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> I think I am with you on re-fraction rather than re-presentation, Henry.
> Although there are circumstances in which representation seems an
> appropriate enough word.
> I would like to continue the half of the conversation that continued to
> talk about images (despite their bad rep) and imagination (despite its
> trendiness).
> I take the core of the discussion to be about the nature of/existence
> of/signficicance of "mental images" and their relation (or lack thereof) to
> the polysemic concept of imagination.
> To go way back in time (not so far as Wundt and Tichner, but all the way
> back to 1978) I attach a paper by Stephen Kosslyn that seems relevant to
> think about images as processes so that the verbiness of imag(ing) is
> brought to the fore.
> On Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Peeps,
>> I come late to this, but I was thinking this morning at the bus stop about
>> David K’s narrative of kids learning about light. I though maybe a
>> parallel: Representation = Reflection and Procedural = Refraction. I think
>> of both as imagery, just that representation is sort of nouny and
>> procedural is verby. Procedural imagery involves, depending on the angle of
>> incidence, deviation from the the initial vector. But procedural imagery
>> keeps things on the move. An affordance. I have forgotten my physics, but
>> does refraction slow things down in any way?
>> Henry
>>> On Dec 1, 2014, at 8:23 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
>>> Martin!
>>> Perhaps the day we stop employing the phrase "mental representation" is
>> coming closer!
>>> For me, this brings us closer to truly understanding Gibson's theory of
>> affordances.
>>> This is what it's like for me to read David's contributed article. But I
>> wonder if it is possible for you, Martin, to explain why it is important
>> not to use the phrase,"mental representation" in the article.
>>> I suspect there is a history here, and I do not mean to pull a grenade
>> pin, I just want to understand because I am a newcomer to the list. If you
>> can trust that that is my intention by asking, I will look forward to your
>> reply, Martin.
>>> Let me just add that I am putting two and two together that being at
>> UCSD and it being the home to Distributed Cognition, that that influences
>> your position, not that it necessarily shapes it, but that you find
>> community in it (which I suppose can still shape, but it seems more
>> voluntary phrased that way).
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Annalisa
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> on behalf of Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
>>> Sent: Monday, December 1, 2014 4:28 AM
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: How *basic* are images?
>>> An interesting article, David. One way in which it is interesting, to me
>> at least, is that the phrase "mental representation" is not used, even
>> once. Instead the author writes of the way that we "read" images in the
>> world around us - material representations - and he tries to define the
>> "interpretational space" within which this reading takes place.
>>> Martin
>>> On Dec 1, 2014, at 1:53 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Larry, Annalisa:
>>>> People sometimes ask my wife if it was "love at first sight" when we
>>>> met. She answers--quite truthfully--that she has no memory of anything
>>>> except the price of the shoes that I wore (a kind of shoe available
>>>> for a standard price all over China) She does not even remember
>>>> whether they were new or old (they were pretty new; it was the
>>>> beginning of the semester). I think I would describe this as a
>>>> non-image based mental representation.
>>>> As Larry says, the issue of whether all mental representations are
>>>> images was a very hot one--back in the late nineteenth century. In
>>>> fact, it was the key issue for the Gestaltist revolt against Titchener
>>>> and against Wundtian psychology: for Wundt and his disciples,
>>>> everything was image based, and the Gestaltists demonstrated that
>>>> many, if not most, of our mental operations are genetically anterior
>>>> to images, and have more to do with processes, else we would not have
>>>> time or ability to process complex problems in real time.
>>>> I think it is even more true that of forms of thinking that are
>>>> genetically posterior to images. I hesitate to recommend more reading
>>>> to anybody, because of course Larry is far more well read than I am
>>>> (particularly on phenomenology) and Annalisa sometimes feels like
>>>> she's being sent to sit facing the corner with a book. So do NOT read
>>>> this article--instead, look at Figure 11.
>>>> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3157022/
>>>> The artist, Robert Pepperell, uses the general color structure of
>>>> Michelangelo’s painting to suggest images without using any actual
>>>> images: by color and shape, which some part of our cultural experience
>>>> associates with Renaissance paintings.  Pepperell then deliberately
>>>> frustrates these guiding images by refusing to give them any
>>>> recognizable figures upon which to focus.
>>>> However, the child staring up at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco
>>>> for the first time finds himself in the opposite situation. He or she
>>>> can discern quite clearly the fighting figures in the painting and
>>>> wonders who they are and why they are fighting, but does not notice
>>>> the color structure or see anything particularly meaningful in it.
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>>> On 1 December 2014 at 10:39, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Larry and David,
>>>>> Am I butting in? I hope if I am, it is a welcome butting in!
>>>>> I don't know that we can say that "basic guiding images" are at the
>> root of all thinking.
>>>>> Perhaps it is safer to say that people think differently, based upon
>> previous conditioning and interactions with their caretakers, in
>> combination with their biological makeup? Vera has a coined a phrase I like
>> a lot called "Cognitive pluralism." She has written a paper on it by the
>> same title and you may find interesting it if you don't know it.
>>>>> With this in mind, it is possible that _some_ people think as Hackett
>> describes, but I don't know if it is how all people think. Have you already
>> given an example of Hackett's work that you recommend? I'd be willing to
>> take a look.
>>>>> As I understand, the topic of mental representations is controversial.
>> It is likely controversial because no one likes it when someone says "this
>> is how all humans think." Of course, that is just my humble observation.
>>>>> It may just be that thinking is a dynamic process and whatever that
>> process is, is particular to the necessity to the situation at hand? Just a
>> thought.
>>>>> What is it that appeals to you about this model, metaphoricity?
>>>>> (BTW, a metaphor need not be image based!)
>>>>> Kind regards,
>>>>> Annalisa
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> on behalf of Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2014 11:33 AM
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture Activity
>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l]  How *basic* are images?
>>>>> David K
>>>>> I mentioned Chris Hackett, and I recently referenced Peirce. My reason
>> for
>>>>> exploring these authors is I have been following a path pursuing a
>> basic
>>>>> question.
>>>>> Are basic guiding images at the root of all thinking?
>>>>> Chris Hackett's answer is: "thinking never EXCEEDS the basic guiding
>> images
>>>>> upon which thinking rests"
>>>>> The recent dialogue between Andy and Martin exploring appearances and
>>>>> illusions was also exploring this theme.
>>>>> Hackett is outlining what he understands as a new phenomenological path
>>>>> that places guiding images at the root of thinking. He names this
>> process
>>>>> *metaphoricity*.
>>>>> Hackett believes metaphoricity names the irreducible image-character
>> of the
>>>>> *spontaneous event* of meaning.
>>>>> He goes on to suggest that the "intending subject" - which he brackets
>> -
>>>>> finds itself implicated in this guiding image.
>>>>> AND
>>>>> it is *in* this guiding image that the *intending subject* finds the
>>>>> meaning of its very self.
>>>>> Exploring the notion of "first things* Hackett proposes this
>>>>> image-character IS a new *objectivity* that only the notion of
>> metaphor can
>>>>> invoke. In other words the notion of *seeing as* is implicated in
>>>>> *objectivity*
>>>>> This new objectivity for Hackett is the root of thinking.
>>>>> Reason at the point of becoming conscious and in command of itself
>> *in* the
>>>>> mode [path] of the concept
>>>>> occurs AFTER the *constitution* of meaning through guiding images has
>> been
>>>>> established.
>>>>> In other words meaning through guiding images mediates the path of
>>>>> conscious verbal thought in command of itself which is derived from the
>>>>> image-character of the guiding image.
>>>>> I hesitate to open this thread because of how controversial this topic
>> may
>>>>> become [again]
>>>>> However I will take the risk as I continue to be held by this basic
>>>>> question. I want to repeat that Hackett is exploring these images as
>>>>> occurring as *events* and in his speculations the images emerge
>>>>> spontaneously prior to intentional consciousness.
>>>>> This is not the phenomenology of Husserl [which is transcendental] and
>> is
>>>>> not the phenomenology of Heidegger [which is hermeneutical]. It seems
>> to
>>>>> have an affinity with Peirce and speculative musings.
>>>>> I also realize this question may already be answered in Vygotsky's
>> writings
>>>>> and may be pulling us away from the historical concerns of XMCA. I
>>>>> personally am following this path for now.
>>>>> Larry
> -- 
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
> <dev.image1.&cit%3Apub=Developmental+Psychology&cit%3Avol=10&cit%3Aiss=5&cit%3Apg=716&cit%3Adate=Sep+1974&ic=true&c>